The fifth novel in Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling series, Hostage to Pleasure introduces us to Dorian, the latent shifter of the DarkRiver clan, and Ashaya, an M-Psy scientist who is working on one of the Councils top projects. In Mine to Possess, we get a brief glimpse at Ashaya when she helps Talin rescue a couple of kids from an experiment being done in her lab. However, we really get to know her when she calls in the debts owed to her by the DarkRiver clan.
I’m not sure what I think about this addition to the Psy-Changeling series. I think I got myself too hyped up about Hostage to Pleasure because while it was good, it’s not sticking with me like the other novels have. Although, I haven’t read the other novels in awhile, so that may be the cause of it, but I still feel like something is off. At the back of the book, we’re given a really small glimpse into Branded by Fire, which is the sixth novel and Mercy’s story, and that has me more intrigued than what I just finished.
The story itself was good, but there was a lack of conflict and action that the other novels had. Dorian has so much baggage where the Psy are concerned, that I think the story was more focused on getting him to resolve those feelings instead of going after a more action intense plot. Not that I’m saying these novels are action packed or anything, far from it, but there is a war going on and you really don’t see it this time around. The Council is behaving itself to some degree, in relation to DarkRiver, and we’re introduced to another fringe group that gives our cats a whole new challenge. One impression I did leave with, is that there is no way Singh can wrap this series up in one more novel, not unless it’s going to be one huge firestorm of action, so that just means we’ll be getting more from our Changeling and Psys. At least, that’s my hope.
I have to say, I think what’s really throwing me off is the characters. The characters were great and their development explained with great results. However, we haven’t seen characters like Dorian and Ashaya yet. We’ve met Dorian in the previous novels, but we’ve never gotten into his head and Hostage to Pleasure sheds a whole new light on him. For instance, he actually has parents and while they don’t make an appearance, it’s obvious that they still hold an important place with Dorian. Ashaya is also a whole new type of Psy that we haven’t come across yet. Her character alone is what made this novel unique to the others. I’m not going to say what it was about her that is so different from everyone else, it would just ruin the surprise, but I think her character is what set the strange atmosphere in this novel. If I haven’t said already, this wasn’t a bad thing, just different than what we’ve been used to.
Overall, Hostage to Pleasure still was awesome and the more I think about it, the better it gets in my head. When you think about it over the course of the series, it adds something that we haven’t seen before, and that makes it a great addition.